Chinese President Xi Jinping has rallied Communist Party cadres to meet the country’s coming “struggles” and ensure a “great national rejuvenation” by 2049, signalling that China is preparing for continued friction with the US and other Western powers over the next three decades.
In a speech on Tuesday, Xi said China must go through “great struggles” to achieve the “Chinese dream” of national rejuvenation – a term popularised under the rule of Xi, who could stay in power China well beyond the previously standard two five-year terms.
Xi said the country will inevitably undergo “all manner of struggles” before it becomes a “powerful socialist country” in time for the 100th anniversary of its founding as the People’s Republic of China, which takes place in 2049.
Xi was speaking at the opening ceremony of a training programme for young and middle-aged officials at the Central Party School, the training base of senior Communist Party cadres.
His emphasis on “struggle” – a term that can also be translated from Chinese as “fight and argue” – comes as a rising China under one-party rule is in the grips of a bitter trade war with the United States. Tensions are also high on geopolitical and ideological fronts, with rising suspicion and mistrust of China throughout the West.
This has given rise to fears of a “new cold war”, a “clash of civilisations” and a “Thucydides Trap” scenario that would see China and the US locked into an inevitable path to war.
The summary of Xi’s speech, published by the official Xinhua news agency, does not mention China’s rivalry with Western democracies or the US trade war, but made clear that China would not make concessions over “core issues” or change its model of governance.
“For those risks or challenges that jeopardise the leadership of the Communist Party and China’s socialist system; for those that endanger China’s sovereignty, security and development interests; for those that undermine China’s core interests and major principles; and for those that deter China’s realisation of a great national rejuvenation, we will wage a determined struggle against them as long as they are there. And we must win the struggle,” Xi said.
Analysts viewed Xi’s speech as a tougher response to rising hostility towards what China perceives to be its legitimate pursuit of its “national greatness”, lost in a “century of humiliation” at the hands of Western powers over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Wise men talk because they have something to say,
fools talk because they have to say something.